Why We Can Thank Beer for the Rise of Civilization

Humans have been consuming beer for thousands of years. In one form or another, fermentation of grains has been a part of cultural development from South America to North Africa. In fact, archaeologists theorize that beer may have actually helped spur the rise of civilization as we know it. Both as a motivating factor behind the agricultural revolution and as a reason for early humans to gather and socialize, the impact of beer on society may be immeasurable.

 

A Brief History of Brewing 

Almost any cereal grain can undergo spontaneous fermentation under the right conditions. Different cultures likely discovered brewing around the same time they were beginning to store grains for later, moving away from gathering for immediate consumption and towards what we know today as agriculture. The earliest evidence of beer dates back to around 5,000 B.C. from pottery jars found in modern-day Iran that show traces of ancient alcohol fermented from grain. The Sumerian Epic of Gilgamesh contains descriptions of a bar, and the earliest Sumerian legal code even stipulates that jars of draft beer were to be used as a unit of payment for settling debts and fines.

Beer Before Bread?

Most people learn in school that the transition from nomadism to agrarianism, the spark that led to the development of settled society, was motivated by bread. By cultivating wild grains like wheat, barley, millet, and rye, people no longer had to spend all their time foraging for food and were free to dream up writing, music, and math. But another theory suggests that it wasn’t bread, but rather beer that early peoples lived on. Some scholars believe that beer was actually healthier than ancient bread, containing a higher amount of B vitamins as well as the essential amino acid lysine. Plus, alcohol killed the disease-causing microbial organisms that lived in stagnant water supplies.

Psychosocial Impact

Not only was beer possibly the reason for people settling down, but it was also likely a reason for them to come together. Like today, beer provided ancient people with a reason to gather and let loose together. The collective spirit that forms from a night of drinking together helped people establish societies for the common good through less inhibited conversation.

Whether you’re looking for a little social lubricant to forge dynastic allegiances or just interested in sharing a pint with friends while watching the game, Barrel Junction has you covered. We have a rotating lineup of 24 draft beers on tap and a full menu of your favorite foods. We make all of our food in-house and serve it straight to you. Visit us today to enjoy a draft beer, and be part of a tradition that stretches back to the dawn of civilization. Call us at (724) 443-0066 to learn about our specials.

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